Ophthalmologists Use OCT to Detect Retinopathy of Prematurity

April 14, 2009

The Associated Press reports that Dr. Thomas Lee, of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is using optical coherence tomography ( OCT) to diagnose retinopathy of prematurity in premature infants at an earlier stage than possible with other diagnostic tools.

Using a new handheld, high-definition OCT device from Bioptigen Inc., Dr. Lee generates images to help decide which preemies need surgery. Bioptigen’s SDOCT systems enable doctors to resolve the microstructure of the retina in the finest detail, including the nerve fiber layer, inner and outer plexiforms, retinal pigment epithelium layers, Bruch’s membrane, and vessels of the choriocapillaris. As a result, says Dr. Lee, he is able to uncover retinal damage that specialists who examine babies’ eyes using standard magnifying lenses can’t see.

In cases where he determines that surgery is required, Dr. Lee cuts away the scar tissue using a special endoscope, an ultra-thin probe from New Jersey-based Endo-Optiks that lets him see behind the iris, deeper than standard surgical microscopes.

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